The Frontal Cortex

Archives for October, 2009

Information Craving

Over at Mind Matters, Chadrick Lane reviews a fascinating experiment that revealed the rewarding properties of information, regardless of whether or not the information actually led to more rewards: In the experimental design, monkeys were placed in front of a computer screen and were trained to perform a saccade task, in which they learned to…

The Limits of Self-Knowledge

Over at the BPS Research Digest, a number of researchers respond to a very interesting question: “What’s one nagging thing you still don’t understand about yourself?” All of the replies are intriguing, but my favorites answers concerned the limitations of self-knowledge. Here, for instance, is David Buss: One nagging thing that I still don’t understand…

Home Cooking

The closing of Gourmet magazine is a sad event. I won’t just miss the lush pictures and Paris travel tips – what I’ll really miss is the food journalism, from DFW on the suffering of lobsters to Daniel Zwerdling on the tragic life of an industrial chicken. I hope other magazines can fill the void,…

Calorie Postings

A new study reveals that all those unappetizing calorie counts on New York City menus – do you really want to know how much sugar is in a Frappuccino? Or that an Olive Garden breadstick contains hundreds of calories? – don’t lead to more responsible food decisions. Here’s the Times: The study, by several professors…

Listening to Your Pulse

An interesting new study looks at how being able to count your own heartbeats – the most elemental form of biofeedback – correlates with better decision-making, at least when playing the Iowa Gambling Task. Here’s Kevin Lewis in the Boston Globe Ideas section: A team of psychologists in Germany asked people to count their own…

Nature and Compassion

I’ve written before about the powerful mental benefits of communing with nature – it leads to more self-control, increased working memory, lower levels of stress and better moods – but a new study by psychologists at the University of Rochester find that being exposed to wildlife also makes us more compassionate. Nature might be red…